Saturday, August 21, 2010
They seduced me. Those beautiful golden blossoms flirting with me every Saturday at the farmer's market. Just like that other temptress, the Romanesco cauliflower, the zucchini blossoms looked so sexy and exotic, just beckoning me to take them home. And so I finally did. And just what do you do with those delicate, pretty little things? Well, you stuff them full of cheezy stuff and fry the hell out of them.
At least that's what I did. I have to admit that before today I had never made anything with zucchini blossoms, nor do I think that I've ever even eaten them. But I've seen so many recipes about how to use them, and they always look so tasty, so I was going on blind faith that they would be good. In fact the only memory I have of eating flowers in the past was a rose petal ice cream I once had in Paris. It was made fresh at a Middle Eastern market, and it was so subtle, so delicate, romantic, and unlike anything I had ever tasted before. It was a truly memorable dessert that I may have to attempt to recreate (veganized) one day.
But back to the zucchini blossoms. Like I said, there are a lot of recipes out there for stuffed blossoms, many of them involving goat or some other mild tasting type of cheese. I improvised and was very happy with how these turned out. These are very rich and they certainly wouldn't fall into the category of "health food," but hey, this was never the blog for that kind of stuff anyway. These would be great to serve as an appetizer, one or two blossoms per person.
Vegan Cheese-Stuffed Fried Zucchini Blossoms
makes 8 blossoms
8 fresh zucchini blossoms
1 small zucchini (about 4 oz.), diced
1 lg. garlic clove, minced
4 oz. vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti Herbs & Chives flavor)
4 Tbsp. Daiya Mozzarella shreds
1/4 tsp. salt
several grinds fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup beer (I used a Brooklyn Pale Ale because, well, I live in Brooklyn)*
vegetable oil for frying
marinara sauce for serving
about 1/4 cup (loosely packed) basil leaves, torn or cut into chiffonade
1. Gently open each blossom and pull out the long stamen inside. Also pull off the stem and green parts around the base of each flower, leaving the bottom intact so that it can hold the filling. Lightly rinse each blossom and pat dry.
2. Saute garlic and zucchini in olive oil until well done (when zucchini pieces are dark brown, but do not let garlic burn). In a medium bowl, mix zucchini and garlic with cream cheese, Mozzarella shreds, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Stuff each blossom with a spoonful of the cheese mixture, and gently twist tops of petals to seal. I used a small espresso spoon to stuff the flowers - whatever you use just be careful to not tear the blossom apart. In another small bowl, whisk flour and beer together.
3. Pour enough oil into a non-stick skillet so that it's about 1/2 inch deep. Heat over medium high so that a few drops of the batter turn golden brown after a minute or so. Dip each stuffed blossom into the batter mix, then fry until golden, turning them over after about a minute so they fry evenly on both sides.
4. Use a slotted spoon to remove blossoms from oil, and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve with marinara sauce, fresh basil, and a wedge of lemon.
*make sure to check that your beer is vegan on Barnivore!